NIVA represents the interests and collective voice of all sectors within the local veterinary profession which include practice, government, research, industry and academia.
Cunningham is currently in small animal practice and has a broad and varied professional background including working overseas with the RSPCA small animal hospital in Hong Kong and earlier as a veterinary officer for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
She will succeed Aurelie Moralis in the role of president as Moralis moves into the role of senior vice president.
Cunningham said: “I am positively honoured to be stepping into the role of president of both NIVA and BVA Northern Ireland Branch, and looking forward to the privilege of working for and further representing my fabulous veterinary colleagues.
“I came to NIVA council in 2015 with declared interests in the issues facing vets in a rapidly changing professional landscape, veterinary mental health, animal welfare, responsible medicine use, and the One Health Agenda.”
She added: “During my time on council, I have learnt so much more about the implications of Brexit, workforce issues and TB, and hope to bring some of this knowledge to the role.
“Every one of us has a part to play in shaping our future professional landscape. We need to stand together and keep looking at the bigger implications of everything we do as veterinarians, respecting one another’s opinions and differences of opinion, to advocate for our profession, our patients, the sectors we represent and serve, and for the planet.”
BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Susan to the role of President for our Northern Ireland branch. Her varied veterinary background and experience in government and overseas already brings a wealth of knowledge to the team.
“A strong voice for vets in Northern Ireland is vital, especially as Brexit negotiations and preparations put them at the centre of a shifting landscape. I know Susan will use her knowledge and skills to help contribute to these conversations and the NI veterinary profession as a whole.”